By: Tony Edwards for Scars1
More than 6 million Americans suffer from wounds that are considered chronic and difficult to heal. These wounds may be the result of long-term pressure or friction on the skin, venous stasis or diabetes. Venous stasis occurs when there are complications in the blood vessels that carry blood back to the heart.
The best way to heal wounds is to prevent them. If you have diabetes or peripheral neuropathy, don’t walk around barefoot, especially outdoors.
Don’t attempt to self treat. If you have a chronic wound, make an appointment with your doctor to have it checked. A wound can be a sign of a more serious underlying condition.
Most chronic wounds will take time to heal. Be sure to follow your doctor’s treatment instructions and make a follow-up appointment if your wound gets worse or more painful during treatment.
Along with more traditional wound care methods such as dressings, gels, and changes in diet and exercise patterns, for some chronic wounds that will not heal physicians are studying the use of electrical stimulation.
Electrical stimulation increases blood flow to the wound, helping the wound heal more quickly. This treatment modality has been used for more than a decade in the United States.
Investigators from the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine wanted to know if a certain type of electrical stimulation, a bioelectric wound dressing, would be effective in treating patients with deep, partial thickness wounds, such as those seen in patients with diabetes.
Using ethical practices, the practitioners treated six pathogen-free animals that had 10x10x0.5 mm wounds. The practitioners divided the wounds into two categories. Subjects in the control group were treated with a sterile dressing only and the test group was treated with the bioelectric wound dressing.
After five days, 65 percent of the wounds were completely healed in the group treated with electrical stimulation as compared with only 20 percent of wounds in the control group. The electrical stimulation group also saw a reduction in scars.